Which? has tested seven new energy monitors – including the British Gas Energy Smart, AlertMe Smart Energy and Eco-Eye Smart – to discover which models make it easiest to cut your energy bills.
Energy monitors are designed to help you understand and reduce your energy usage – but Which? tests have revealed that some are much better than others in terms of accuracy and ease of use.
Which? researcher Hazel Cottrell said: ‘In this latest test of energy monitors we’ve seen several models with innovative and useful features – including an ‘intelligent’ energy monitor that learns your usage patterns and sets you daily targets.’
All new and previous test results can be found in the energy monitors review.
Free energy monitors
As well as testing paid-for energy monitors – such as the Efergy Ecotouch and Eco1 Saveometer – Which? also assessed energy monitors that are given out ‘free’ by energy suppliers.
These include the British Gas Energy Smart, Scottish Power Unifi and Onzo Smart Energy (which is currently only available from SSE).
Some of these models have scored well in our tests, but Hazel added: ‘Before you consider switching energy suppliers just to get a free energy monitor, make sure you’ve compared all the energy deals available using a comparison service such as Which? Switch.
‘Often it will work out cheaper to switch to the best deal available and buy an energy monitor separately.
‘And if you just want to measure the energy usage of a single appliance (rather than the usage of your whole home) you could just buy a plug-in energy monitor.’
Energy monitors vs. Smart meters
Energy monitors (which you can easily install yourself) are different to smart meters (which need to be installed by a professional and will replace your existing gas and electricity meters).
Smart meters will come with in-home displays which will be similar to energy monitors – so you might want to wait until smart-meters are rolled out nationally to get one of these.
But Which? wants the government to – the government plans to have a smart meter in every home by 2019.
Which? wants to make sure that consumers aren’t writing a ‘blank cheque’ for the programme.
Which? believes the roll-out is flawed as it has the potential to further undermine consumer confidence in energy companies as well as cost consumers millions more than the initial estimate.
- View test results for 15 models in our energy monitors review
- Watch our video to see the differences between energy monitors and smart meters
- Read how Which? is working to make energy bills simpler with our Affordable Energy Campaign